The Pakistani city of Lahore was declared the most polluted city in the world by an air quality monitor on Wednesday as residents suffocated by a sharp fog begged officials to take action.
Lahore had an air quality rating of 348, well above the dangerous level of 300, according to IQAir, the Swiss technology company that operates the AirVisual monitoring platform.
“Children are experiencing respiratory illnesses … for God’s sake, find a solution,” Muhammad Saeed, a worker, told AFP.
Air pollution has worsened in Pakistan in recent years as a mixture of poor quality diesel fumes, smoke from seasonal crops burns, and colder winter temperatures converge into stagnant clouds of fog.
Lahore, a vibrant mega-city of more than 11 million people in Punjab province near the border with India, is consistently ranked among the worst cities in the world for air pollution.
In recent years residents have built their own air purifiers and made lawsuits against government officials in desperate bids to clean the air – but authorities have acted slowly, blaming the fog on India or claiming the figures are exaggerated.
“We are poor people, can’t even pay the doctor’s fees,” shopkeeper Ikram Ahmed told AFP.
“We can only ask them to control the pollution. I’m not an educated person, but I read that Lahore has the worst air quality. If it continues like this, we will die.”
“I used to come (walk) with my kids but now I don’t take them out with me,” Saeed the worker said.
“There are factories and small industries operating here, or moving them elsewhere, giving them compensation or providing them with modern technology so that we can get rid of this fog.”
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from syndicated feed.)